Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson (1914-1919)

Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia on 28th Dec, 1856. He was the 28th American President and the son of a Presbyterian minister who during the Civil War was a pastor in Augusta, Georgia, and during Reconstruction a professor in the charred city of Columbia, South Carolina. He was nominated as the President at Democratic Convention in 1912 and campaigned on a program called the New Freedom, which stressed individualism and states’ rights. In the three-way election he received only 42 percent of the popular vote but an overwhelming electoral vote.

He is the 2nd of the four president of America to be awarded noble prize. He was awarded noble prize for his excellent peace making efforts. In 1919 he suffered a stroke which nearly took his life away and his body was paralyzed. He died in 1924.

Achievements of Woodrow Wilson 

 True Progressive president of America

 Noble Prize winner for peace efforts

 Balance US policy in World War I

 Wilson 14 points

America and World War I 

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia got involved to defend Serbia. Germany seeing Russia mobilizing, declared war on Russia. France was then drawn in against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Germany attacked France through Belgium pulling Britain into war. Then Japan entered the war. Later, Italy and the United States would enter on the side of the allies. It is very difficult to pin point the actual causes of the 1st world war. But here is the list which provides some popular reasons that led the world to their first battle.

  1. Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary was one of the immediate causes of the war. In June 1914, a Serbian nationalist assassinated him and his wife while they were in Sarajevo, Bosnia. This was in protest to Austria-Hungary having control of this region. This assassination led to Austria-Hungary declaring war on Serbia.

  1. Mutual Defense Alliances

Countries throughout Europe made mutual defense agreements that would pull them into battle. Thus, if one country was attacked, allied countries were bound to defend them. Before World War 1, the following alliances existed:

 Russia and Serbia

 Germany and Austria-Hungary

 France and Russia

 Britain and France and Belgium

 Japan and Britain

  1. Militarism

As the world entered the 20th century, an arms race had begun. By 1914, Germany had the greatest increase in military buildup. Great Britain and Germany both greatly increased their navies in this time period. Further, in Germany and Russia particularly, the military establishment began to have a greater influence on public policy. This increase in militarism helped push the countries involved to war.

  1. Nationalism

Much of the origin of the war was based on the desire of the Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina to no longer be part of Austria Hungary but instead be part of Serbia. In this way, nationalism led directly to the War. But in a more general way, the nationalism of the various countries throughout Europe contributed not only to the beginning but the extension of the war in Europe.

  1. Imperialism

Imperialism is when a country increases their power and wealth by bringing additional territories under their control. Before World War 1, Africa and parts of Asia were points of contention amongst the European countries. This was especially true because of the raw materials these areas could provide.

Enetente Powers (France, Britain and Russia)

Centrist Powers (Germany, Turkey, Austria-Hungary)


Causes of American entry to World War I 

  1. Trade Relations with Europe

American had very good trade relations with the European countries, which brings in the economic factor that America entered the war. As huge loan were given to allies by America, defeat of those allies would had resulted in the sinking of American money. Therefore America decided to enter the war and support allies. This resulted in the tripling American trade with allies to $3 billion a year between 1914 and 1916 and helped economic recovery in the United States.

  1. German Submarine Warfare

In March 1918, German sub marines torpedoed three unarmed American ships including famous ship Lusitania, which resulted in heavy losses. Britain propagated this news and the German aggressive behavior was condemned and US was forced in to the war.

  1. Zimmer Mann Telegraph

American public opinion was also inflamed by the Zimmermann note. Zimmermann was the foreign secretary of Germany who sought a military alliance with Mexico against United States. When submarines sank three American merchant ships, Wilson abandoned temporary armed neutrality and decided to take the United States into the war.

  1. Russian Revolution

In 1917, the ruler of Russia ―Czar‖ was dethroned in the Russian revolution and the communist party led by Lenin was all set to take up the new system of government in Russia. America was of the view that the communist revolution will not be favorable to American system.

  1. Weapons Credibility Issue

America was one of the biggest sellers of arms and artillery to Europe. Since the world war had begun by that time, it was the issues of the credibility of American arms as a large number of US arms were being used by the allies in the 1st world war. The failure of allies in the war would have resulted as a disaster for the US weapon industry.

  1. Declaration of War

In his powerful war message of 2 April 1917, Wilson condemned the German submarine campaign as ―warfare against mankind,‖ and urged Americans to fight, in his famous phrase, to make the world ―safe for democracy.

        “The world must be made safe for democracy.” “Woodrow Wilson”

14 Points of Woodrow Wilson

During the bloody battles of the First World War, President Woodrow Wilson began to explain his plans for the peace following the war.  Most widely known was his message of a “peace without victory” most completely explained in his “Fourteen Points” speech before Congress on 8 January 1918.  The first five points consisted the idea of an “open” world after the war. The next eight points focused mainly upon the idea of granting “selfdetermination” to national minorities in Europe.  Most significant, however, was point number fourteen which stressed a “general association of nations” to ensure “political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.”  Essentially, these Fourteen Points signaled a generous, non-punitive postwar settlement.

  1. Abolishment of Secret Treaties

Abolition of secret diplomacy by adoption of open covenants (agreements) openly arrived at.

  1. Absolute Freedom of The Seas

Freedom of the seas in peace and war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action to enforce international covenants.

  1. Removal of economic barriers and equality of

trade  Removal of international trade barriers where-ever possible and establishment of equal trading conditions among the nations accepting the peace.

  1. Reduction of armaments

Reduction of armaments to the lowest point consistent with public safety.

  1. Adjustment of colonial claims

Adjustment of colonial claims, taking into account the interests of the colonial population as well as those of the rival colonial powers.

  1. Evacuation of Russian Territories

Evacuation of German troops from Russian territory, and an opportunity for Russia, then engaged in the Communist revolution, to determine its form of government without outside interference.

  1. Preservation of Belgian sovereignty

Evacuation of German troops from Belgium.

  1. Restoration of French territory Alsace-Lorraine

Evacuation and restoration by Germany of French territory, with restoration to France of Alsace-Lorraine.

  1. Re-adjustment of Italian frontiers

Readjustment of the frontiers of Italy along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

  1. Division and autonomous development of Austria-Hungary

Opportunity of autonomous development for the peoples of Austria-Hungary.

  1. Redrawing of Balkan boundaries

Evacuation by the Central Powers of Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania; granting of seaports to Serbia; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the Balkan states.

  1. Limitations on Turkey

Internationalization of the Dardanelles and self-determination for non-Turkish peoples under Turkish control.

  1. Establishment of an independent

Poland an independent Poland with access to the sea.

  1. Association of nations (League of Nations)

A League of Nations should be set up to guarantee the political and territorial independence of all states.

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